Below is my submission on the New Zealand Day Bill:
- I oppose the New Zealand Day Bill for the following reasons:
- The Treaty of Waitangi is the moral foundation of our constitution and its signing marks the start of the New Zealand project. The name of the day on which we celebrate this event should reflect what it is we are celebrating.
- Many have complained that Waitangi Day is "all about guilt". I believe it is important to remember that we have not always lived up to the ideals of partnership and co-operation laid out in the Treaty, so that we do not make similar mistakes in the future. Waitangi Day should therefore be a day of both celebration and reflection.
- Changing the name of Waitangi Day to New Zealand Day is a gratuitous denigration of Maori and their place in New Zealand's history. The symbolism of the change is to write Maori out of New Zealand's past and to say that they don't matter. For the New Zealand government to take such action would simply be shameful.
- A motivation for the bill is to avoid protests at Waitangi Day celebrations. However, the needless insult to Maori from this bill simply invites further protest, which is likely to continue until the name is changed back.
- As a general comment, if the government wants to end protest at Waitangi Day, they should work harder to address the underlying grievances, and avoid creating new, rather than simply trying to sweep the entire thing under the carpet with a name change.
- I oppose s5 of the bill. Like ANZAC Day, Waitangi Day should be celebrated on the appropriate date. However, I do not oppose "mondayising" the holiday rather than the celebration, as is done for Christmas and New Years Day.
- I do not wish to make an oral submission to the Select Committee.
Lewis also has a submission up here, and its rather better than mine. However, he missed the best alternative for a new national day: declare a republic and celebrate its birth...